Discovering Imperial Vienna with Context Travel

The first that pops in my mind for Vienna is elegant! Contrary to several people’s belief that Vienna is boring and dull, I found it to be quite the opposite.

The Central European team at Context Travel helped me majorly in that regard. Context Travel is a company specializing in city tours/walks with local historians. Their USP is small group tours offering in depth information of the city or a particular part of it so that one can really delve into understanding both the history and local culture. One of the biggest benefits of taking a walk with them is feeling a little less overwhelmed than you are because Vienna is quite overwhelming!


Piroska Meyer-Sebastian of Context Travel showed me around the 1st District of Vienna which happens to be the most legendary areas of the charismatic city.

Outside the Hofburg Palace

I was the only person for that morning’s tour so everything was done at my pace. Which also meant that I could ask a million questions, (sometimes even unrelated to history) take breaks longer than usual and linger around at one place for more time. For instance I totally bored Piroska about Viennese chocolates and visiting the city’s favorite cafes. She was so fun and it was a blessing to be with a local on my very first day.

Door goals

What is the 1st District??

Coming back to the walk…. It started in the 1st District, which is the ancient part of Vienna made by the Romans. (Oh yes they were everywhere) The walk included many of the sights that a tourist would normally not know on their first visit but since Context offers deep meaningful tours, I visited several hidden areas. We started with the city’s oldest church- Ruprechtskirche.  The ivy laden Gothic church is dedicated to the patron saint of Salzburg- St. Rupert. It was eerie inside but the outside was very pretty especially because of the weather.


The area around the church was compact and charming and just at the corner was one of the oldest synagogues from the 12th century where the first Jews of the city started living. The Jewish community in the city has had a tumultuous relationship but even now there are Jewish clubs, schools, museums and newspapers in Vienna.
A Memorial for the Austrian Holocaust Victims

The whole area around the Synagogue was protected and armed. There was small alleys leading to further smaller alleys where I chanced upon an English bookstore (more on that in the next post). We walked past the main cathedral of St. Stephen’s where there are many cafes and shops worth visiting. I mentally made a note of that.

After a long walk, Piroska and I visited a memorial of the Austrian Holocaust Victims right in the middle of the historic centre. It was amazing to see how the Austrians had preserved their history.

Old World Charm
St. Stephen’s Cathedral
Prince Eugen of Savoy

We walked around the quiet area of the 1st District crossing what must be regular sightings in Vienna- horse driven carriages!! I squealed in delight!! We also crossed the Austrian Parliament and Hofburg Palace where I was told a million things I don’t remember. But the most interesting suggestion I was given was to visit the Globe Museum! There is also a Museum of Peace.

What an interesting city!

I continued my visit to the quaint streets of Vienna and in that three hour walk fell in love with the history, food and chocolates. The city has so many layers…..

Another antique colomn
Elegant Vienna
Hofburg Palace

My favorite part of the walk included the grounds of the Hofburg Palace which I returned to the next day. It was as if I went back in the 60s. Disclaimer: My walk in Vienna was made possible thanks to Context Travel but the views here are completely my own.

Related Reading:

Vienna and it’s Cafes Bookstores of Vienna

52 thoughts on “Discovering Imperial Vienna with Context Travel

  1. Vienna is a beautiful city with excellent museums and performances (from listening to the boys choir in a Sunday morning church service to the Musikverien and the Opera house, and not to leave out the Lippizaner horses), wonderful pastries and humongous wienerschnitzel, but it is very, very cold in the winter!

      1. It really is a haven of culture. I’ve been there several times – once for 10 days in December and I froze, although it did make ducking into a coffee shop for a pastry mit schlag even more inviting.

      1. The end of May. Was supposed to be earlier, but I’m having a corneal transplant in February. But May is just as good a time! I shall say hello to her and have some chocolates for you!

  2. Awww, my old pal Vienna…I have always loved it, I’ve never undestood why some people keep saying it’s dull! It’s elegant and maybe not “in your face”, it needs to be discovered little by little.
    Yeah, Vienna is full of interesting and even weird museums (there’s even the Funeral Museum 😂xD).

    1. I think Vienna is very few’s favorite. I know many people who don’t like it. As you said it needs to be discovered little by little ..And Funeral :O Omg!

  3. I too loved Vienna. It is featured in my latest book Amanda on the Danube The Sounds of Music. I think it is a wonderful city and would love to return one day.

    1. They are very good. In fact because its a small number its hardly like a “tour” This one was sponsored by Context but you can check their site for more information 🙂

  4. Wonderful photos and love your thoughts. I haven’t been to Vienna in years and your post brought back memories – and the desire to revisit. I have used Context Travel several times and highly recommend them as well.

  5. Agree with you entirely, Ishita. Vienna is one of my favorite cities. Lived there for a year and I’ve been to visit countless times. Love the architecture, the music, the museums, the people, the food and the great cafes.So glad you enjoyed your visit!

      1. Gerne. (Un piacere) Guess you’ll get as good in German (or better, Wienerisch) as you are with Italian. We’re definitely sisters separated by fate by a continent. : ) Looking forward to our travel chat one day over a glass of Italian wine (or Viennese geschpritzt?). : ) Wishing you all the best for 2017!

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